By Elflaco | Guest blogger and all-round good guy
So, Christmas is over. Funds are gone, it’s months before my next holiday, Carole from Accounts is talking me through all 109 photos on her phone of her 6-month-old baby in his Christmas outfits…and Barca are back on the telly.
Sigh. Back to the grind.
There are five months of the Spanish season to go and already the engravers are getting to work on the La Liga trophy. It’s over. While Bayern and Celtic look to be coasting to league titles too, nobody is freewheeling like this clinically dominant Barcelona.
Sure, Jose Mourinho’s apparent one-man-crusade to demolish Real Madrid from the inside is allowing Barcelona a longer leash, but not even a finely-tuned Madrid side could stop this procession – Barcelona’s current points-per-game average puts them on course to accumulate 110 points (from a possible 114) by the season’s end.
The ease with which they are going about this season leaves me suffering from ‘Barca Fatigue’. I’m tired of the predictability of their matches. Tired of the love fest. Tired of the snobbery.
The summer of 2012 provided hope. Hope that, with Guardiola heading for his studio apartment in Manhattan, Barcelona would lose focus and regress to being a really good team, rather than the ‘greatest’ team. Alas, it was not to be.
With Guardiola out of the picture, Tito Vilanova has them playing perhaps even more lethal, free-flowing football than Pep’s final year in charge when, tactically, Barcelona began to disappear up their own backside thanks to over-thinking and over-complicating. Their matches are a master class in passing and scoring and so, by and large, are devoid of excitement.
There are viewers that get great enjoyment from these lopsided affairs – those that believe Barcelona’s playing style is somehow the ‘correct’ way to play football and any attempts to overcome these protected species with a different style of play are affiliated with The Devil. From a purely sporting standpoint though, it is hollow and uninteresting. At least Manchester United keep us in suspense before scoring that vital 98th minute goal.
Matches that live in the memory and keep us coming back for more are close encounters, with back and forth action, dramatic goals and even heartbreak. Now not every game can have these, but I certainly don’t want to be heading for the Tapas bar after 28 minutes.
A viewer of Monday Night Football sent a tweet asking Gary Neville if he was bored of Lionel Messi. Neville and the blonde host (that Neville seems to treat with subtle disdain), scoffed at such a suggestion and quickly moved on, while presumably pressing an emergency button beneath their desk which dispatches Jamie Redknapp to hunt down those that dare feel anything other than fawning adoration for everything Barcelona. While it is hard to truly know if the question posed was tongue-in-cheek, I choose to believe that this viewer was another person trying to swim against the tide of Barca-mania and its saturating effect.
Every game we are peppered with facts and figures about Messi – His 400th goal of the calendar year, the 6,008th goal of his career, 25 years old, 4 FIFA Ballon d’Ors, growth hormones, contracts on napkins … the bombardment seems relentless.
Don’t get me wrong, I admire Barcelona’s achievements, they’re hugely impressive. It’s just that their dominance has killed my enjoyment of La Liga. Maybe the 2013/14 season will bring new hope? Perhaps they will slow down, giving opponents a fighting chance and me and the other Barcaphobes can go back to watching them again.
… in the meantime, I see they’re running night-classes in basket-weaving down at the Community Centre until mid-August. Perfect.